Muslim rally organisers tell extremists to stay away

Thousands of Muslims will gather in central London today in a show of defiance against Islamic extremists who last week called for the death of Westerners after the publication of cartoons defiling the image of the Prophet Mohamed.

The rally is expected to be one of the biggest Muslim demonstrations to ever take place in Britain. Organisers of the event have told Muslim agitators that they will not be welcome and the Metropolitan Police have said they will arrest anyone carrying banners intended to incite violence. Police are also prepared to combat any threat from extreme right-wing groups, including the BNP, who may want to try to hijack the event.

The Muslim Council of Britain, which is organising the event, has received a handful of race-hate e-mails after the demonstrations last week in which extremist Muslims waved offensive banners calling for the murder of those who insult Islam.

The British National Party has published some of the cartoons on its website. "British newspapers have united in their cowardice by refusing to carry the cartoons which have caused a storm of protest and anger amongst the Muslim world," read the accompanying statement.

Inayat Bunglawala, spoke-sman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said that no form of extremism would be tolerated at the rally. "The reasons for the really are two-fold. We want to allow peaceful expression of the hurt caused by the publication of the cartoons but we also want to allow people to publicly distance themselves from the extremists because for most of Britain this is the only impression they have of Muslims in this country."

He condemned the extremists for their reaction after newspapers in Denmark, Norway, France and Germany published the cartoons. "They are the mirror image of the BNP and have done more harm to Muslims living in this country than that caused by the BNP," he said.

But other representatives of moderate Muslim groups questioned the value of holding a rally. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament, said: "I think we have had enough protests and the time has come for Muslims to go back to work. The best way to earn respect is by leading peaceful lives rather than going on marches, no matter how important they are. We would be better working towards ending social exclusion and marginalisation in our societies. I won't be attending the rally."

Mr Bunglawala said: "I wish we didn't have to hold this rally but how else can we distance ourselves from the extremists?"

The rally, which begins at 1pm, is being supported by 400 Muslim groups affiliated to the Muslim Council of Britain. The publication of the cartoons was debated during a comedy festival which began yesterday. Jokes about religion and whether there are no-go areas for satirists will be discussed at the Leicester Comedy Festival.

The festival's founder and director Geoff Rowe said: "It's really important that when putting together the programme for the festival we consider issues about what people can tell jokes about and what they can't."

Who's going on the march - and why?

NAZIR AHMED, 35, BARRISTER

"I'm going to the march and I'm a law-abiding and peaceful citizen. We have a responsibility to show our anger and frustration in a peaceful way. The march will give a clear message that ... in a democratic society everyone has freedom of speech, but it is not unconditional. The Danish paper has hurt millions of Muslims."

MUZIBUL ISLAM, 36, SOCIAL WORKER

"I will definitely be going. Not many people have a high awareness of the Prophet Mohamed - and the image some people have is wrong. There have been demonstrations recently that a lot of people in the community didn't agree with. We need to tackle views like the Danish cartoons in a diplomatic manner."

MOHAMMED KROESSIN, 35, CHARITY WORKER

"I'm thinking about going on the march but I need to weigh up the pros and cons. The main benefit is that there will probably be 50,000 Muslims in Trafalgar Square. But one guy could hijack the event and create negative press, and that's why I'm in two minds about going."

DEEQA HASSAN, 19, HEALTH STUDIES STUDENT

"I can't go to the march because I'm working, but I would love to. Personally I don't think it will make much of an impact. A lot of my friends are going and everyone is angry. I think the media should be more responsible. The Prophet Mohamed is pure, and it's disgusting to draw him as he was in the cartoon.''

News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
Sport
Premier League Live Saturday 23 August
sportAll the action from today's Premier League matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Market Administrator (1st line Support, Bloomberg, Broker)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Market Administrator (1st line Support, Trade Fl...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Data Support Analyst (Linux, Solaris, Windows Server, Reuters)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Data Support Analyst (Linux, Solaris, Windows Se...

Helpdesk Support Engineer (Windows, MS Office, Exchange)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Helpdesk Support Engineer (Windows, MS Office, E...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition